Regarding Henry

The Steadfast Mr. Shelton. Plus, vetoing The Don and doubting Linc.
By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  January 6, 2010

Henry Shelton

Since P&J heard that our friend Henry Shelton had suffered a stroke on December 28, we have joined tens of thousands of other Vo Dilunduhs, in praying for his full and speedy recovery. We had just seen Henry on Christmas week and, naturally, he button-holed us about the upcoming State House rally to speak out against wintertime utility shutoffs, an issue that has been near the top of Henry’s “to do” list for decades.

We couldn’t help but think of Henry when we read the first few stories the Other Paper ran about his condition. It seemed that the Urinal was finally listening to Henry (or maybe allowing him to edit the copy). It was noted in the opening paragraph of the first story to appear in print that Henry had suffered the stroke at a local restaurant after celebrating his wife Carol’s birthday. After that it was all about the rally the against utility shutoffs that Henry, in his capacity as head ramrod of the George Wiley Center, was helping to put together. We, and everyone else who knows Henry, are aware that this is the way he would have done the story (except he would have tried to edit out the part about his stroke). Focus on the issue . . . let’s get people’s attention.

We also couldn’t help but think of Henry while reading the story in Sunday’s New York Times by Jason DeParle and Robert Gebeloff on the unprecedented number of people around the country who are now living solely on their food stamp allotments. The Times reports that “nearly 15,000 people in Lee County, Florida” alone have no reported income but food stamps. We wonder how many people around here are in a similar situation. We wonder how many more people would be hungry as well as cold if it weren’t for Henry’s long advocacy to expand food stamp access in the state?

We know that most of Henry’s work is despised by right-wing conservative kings who believe (despite evidence to the contrary) that all problems can be solved by the miracle of the marketplace, cutting taxes and all the rest. It would appear to P&J that Henry Shelton believes in some fairly basic and simple terms: When people are hungry, they need to eat. When people are cold, they need clothing and warmth.

And all of us need an injection of Henry’s passion and commitment and relentlessness. When you’re fighting real power, you need to be steadfast. Henry Shelton is steadfast and we await his presence again on the front lines. In the meantime, it is our responsibility to defend the front lines.

How many ways can you say “F--k you!”?
The headline question above may be just what the powerless Don, Governor Carcieri, is thinking as Phillipe and Jorge went to press, after a frenzied conga line was formed in the General Assembly to override his 2009 session vetoes at breakneck pace.

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